As I have been predicting, the class action lawsuits would continue against major food companies for using genetically-modified ingredients (GMOs) and/or synthetic substances in their “all-natural” products.
In a class action lawsuit filed (PDF) by law firm Milberg LLP against Frito-Lay, the claim states that the company markets its Tostitos and Sun Chips products as “made with all natural ingredients” when in fact they are not “all natural”.
The lawsuit contends that the ingredients are not “all natural” because the corn and vegetable oils (soybean, corn and canola) that they are using are all genetically-modified. Therefore, they are not “all natural” and are counter to what Frito-Lay is marketing them as.
Monsanto, the biggest player in the world when it comes to genetically-modified food, defines genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) on its website as food with “genetic makeup altered to exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs.”
As with the other class action lawsuits, this is essentially the basis of the litigation – whether a GMO is natural or not.
FRITO-LAY PUSHES ITS “NATURAL” IMAGE
With the help from Top Chef TV Host Padma Lakshmi and a few other chefs, Frito-Lay rolled out a campaign earlier this year giving consumers an inside look at how the company’s recipes are made using “all natural” ingredients.
Frito-Lay went on to say that these all natural products:
“do not have any artificial or synthetic ingredients, and they do not contain any artificial flavors or artificial preservatives, or ingredients such as monosodium glutamate (MSG). These products are easily identifiable in stores with a stamp on the package that calls out that the product is made with all natural ingredients, with no MSG, artificial preservatives or artificial flavors.”
Furthermore, Ann Mukherjee, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Frito-Lay, said that “Now more than ever, consumers want to know where the foods they love come from and how they are made.”
Yes, Ann Murkerjee, we would love to know how your products are made. Are you using genetically-modified ingredients or not?
Here are the facts:
According to the Institute for Responsible Technology, 91% of soy, 88% of canola and 85% of corn in the U.S. is genetically-modified.
Given these statistics, which are widely known by people who eat organic, what is the likelihood that Frito-Lay is using genetically-modified corn and soy in their oils? I would say it is about a 99.99% chance that they are.
Not only would the company have incredible difficulty sourcing the large quantity of organic and/or non-GMO corn and soy products needed, but the costs would be way, way too high. It just wouldn’t work.
The bottom line is this. Our government supports GMOs and has had no problem with companies who market their products as “all natural”, even though they may be genetically-modified.
As we all know, “natural” stands for practically nothing except for minimally-processed. There are no real standards, no enforcement and no third-party verification.
With organic, we have enforcement, tight rules and regulations, and third-party verification.
Hopefully, the courts will soon rule that genetically-modified is different than “all natural”, and a lot of the abuse with the term “natural” will end.
Because, as you say Ann Murkejee, consumers “want to know where the foods they love come from”.
The U.S. is the only developed country in the world that does not require mandatory labeling of genetically-modified foods. If you would like to see this change, please click HERE and support the petition that would require the FDA to make GMO-labeling mandatory.
This is something that President Obama wanted as well while on the campaign trail in 2007 but once he got into office, he conveniently changed his stance on the issue.
Watch this video to see what he said.